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The Spanish Prison System

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  1. The Spanish Prison System Laura NegredoResearch & Evaluation CenterJohn Jay College of Criminal Justice March 8, 2014 Beyond the Bars, 4th Annual ConferenceColumbia University School of Social Work

  2. The Spanish Prison System • General information • Prison population • Types of custody, facilities and staff • Prison work and education • Treatment programs • Penitentiary benefits • Prison discipline • Judicial oversight

  3. General Information • Dictatorship (1939-1975) • 1978-Spanish Constitution and first democratic government • 1979-General Penitentiary Law

  4. Prison Population Data Source: Spanish Department of Corrections

  5. Prison Work and Education • Vocational training • Around 40% of the prison population work in production workshops • Formal education

  6. Treatment Programs • Young prisoners • Conflict resolution • Comprehensive care for the mentally ill • Women • Respect Units • Reentry Programs • Domestic violence • Sex offenders • Drug-dependency • Foreign prison population • Suicide prevention • People with physical, sensory or intellectual disability

  7. Penitentiary Benefits • Ordinary leaves: • Second Degree or Third Degree+ ¼ sentence completed + good behavior • Extraordinary leaves • Parole: • Ordinary: Third Degree + ¾ sentence completed+ good behavior • Extraordinary: Third Degree + 2/3 sentence completed+ good behavior • Humanitarian: for seriously ill and 70+

  8. Prison Discipline • Reprimands • Suppression of recreational acts • Limitations of communications • Suppression of leaves up to 2 months • Solitary confinement

  9. Judicial Oversight: Penitentiary Surveillance Courts • Goal: Protection of inmates’ rights • Competent for: • Control of the execution of the sentence • Approval of proposals of parole and revocations • Approval of proposals to shorten the sentence • Approval of solitary confinement over 14 days (exceptional cases) • Resolution of inmates’ complaints on initial classification, progression or regression of level • Resolution of inmates’ complaints on the use of disciplinary sanctions • Resolution of inmates’ complaints on fundamental rights or penitentiary benefits • Approval of leaves superior to 2 days, except for prisoners classified as third degree • Periodic visits to the correctional facilities

  10. Highlights • Achievements: • Motivated and well-trained staff • Rehabilitative emphasis • Judicial control • Need for: • More reentry programs • More research • More inmates should be on open regime and parole